A new minimum wage poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe Congress should raise the current rate within the next year.
Four years have passed without a single increase in federal minimum wage. The new poll released on Wednesday finds that 80 percent of Americans, including 62 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independents, support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. Those same respondents believe the minimum wage needs to continue increasing with the cost of living.
Members of congress and various business leaders recently gathered in Washington to champion the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012.
Democratic leaders are expected to use the minimum wage increase as a major talking point during 2014 midterm elections. The Dems may be banking on a good strategy as the poll found a 36 percent net advantage (51% more likely to support, 15% less).
The minimum wage poll also found that twice as many voters believe that Republicans will be more to blame than Democrats if Congress fails to raise the federal minimum wage over the next year.
Last week Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) talked about the need for a minimum wage increase:
“Four years without a raise is three years too many. While millions of workers have been without a raise, costs have continued to climb. Between 2009 and 2012, rent has gone up 4 percent, food is 8 percent more expensive, child care costs 9 percent more, and public transportation takes a 13 percent bigger bite out of workers’ wallets. We have to make sure that working families can keep up with the economy. Also, by increasing the minimum wage, we can give tens of millions of workers more money in their paychecks to spend at local businesses, increasing sales and boosting economic activity.”
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 (H.R. 1010 / S. 460) is now co-sponsored by 140 members of the House of Representatives and 30 members of the Senate.
Under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 the rate would increase from a lousy $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by 2015. The plan would also include an annual increase based on the rising cost of living. The bill would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from its current low rate of $2.13 per hour. Tipped workers would be guaranteed 70 percent of the full minimum wage rate. Tipped workers have not had received a minimum wage increase since 1991.
According to the minimum wage poll the new plan would give significant raises to more than 30 million low-wage workers throughout the United States. The Economic Policy Institute notes that 88 percent of workers affected by the pay increase are over the age of 20. 85 percent of those workers are work more than 20 hours per week and 43 percent have at least some college education.
More than 15 million children in the United States will benefit from a parents 30+ percent increase in pay.
With many companies lowering employee pay following a long period of economic contraction the increase in minimum wage could help spur new economic spending.
Do you agree with the minimum wage poll and its conclusion that we need to raise the pay for low-income earners?